Being in painful circumferences
Being in Painful Circumferences seeks to delineate a spatial representation of the Korean notion of ‘Han’ [한, 恨]. Descending from 4000 years of Korea’s history, in brief, Han is described as a state of emotion where one endures excessive psychological pain because of hope. Throughout time and until this day Korean land is of high military value. It is a strategic point of invasion, allowing enemies to bleed out from the peninsular and mount an attack on the surrounding lands.i Hence the land is constantly suspended in war, while human bodies cling to hope for peace. After the Korean War in 1953, Han still exists as common cultural trait in Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) and Republic of Korea (South Korea). The design component of the project is a ‘Meeting-house’ for North and South Korean families that are separated after the Korean War. The project speculatively seeks to design a cultural and domestic ground for separated families to temporally get together and liberate each other’s Han. The site for the Meeting-house is situated in Joint Security Area (JSA), within the border between North and South Korea. The JSA was set in place by the terms of the UN’s cease-fire at the end of the Korean War in 1953. Being in Painful Circumferences explores and utilizes the notion of Han ethically to bridge the cultural, political and geological gap between North and South Korea. The Meeting-house is a preliminary ground, in which Han is liberated and reconfirmed as the one shared cultural trait reinforcing gradual reunification.